Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CRANSTON, Henry Young, lawyer, born in Newport, Rhode Island, 9 October 1789; died there, 12 February 1864. He received a limited education, and after following a trade, studied law, and in 1809 was admitted to the bar. From 1818 till 1833 he was clerk of the court of common pleas, and he was a member of the state conventions held for framing and improving the constitution of Rhode Island. He was a member of the state legislature from 1827 till 1843, and was repeatedly elected its presiding officer. Subsequently he was sent to congress and served from 4 December 1843, till 3 March 1847, after which he was again a member of the state legislature and for three years its speaker. He retired from public life in 1854, but continued his residence in Newport until his death.--His brother, Robert Bennie, born in Newport, R. I., 14 January 1791; died there, 27 January 1873, received a public-school education and later was employed in the collection of internal revenue. For a time he was sheriff of Newport, and then was elected as a Whig to congress, serving from 4 September 1837, till 3 March 1843. He was a banker for several years, was postmaster, and a member of the state legislature, serving for one term as speaker. Subsequently he was sent to congress as a "law-and-order Whig," and served from 6 December 1847, till 3 March 1849. Later he was elected mayor of Newport, but declined the office. He bequeathed $75,000 to those poor of Newport "who are too honest to steal and too proud to beg."
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